I could hear the shrill cries approaching from behind me. My mom ears perked up and the natural instinct to aid a crying child began to jump through my body. I watched as a middle-aged woman strolled down the main aisle of Walmart with a baby carrier in the cart. I saw a newborn’s outstretched fingers stiffly raised up as he continued to wail at only the decimal a newborn can reach. The mother acted oblivious to the sounds coming from her child. She gingerly strolled into the baby section and began to look at merchandise on the shelf, all the while her baby crying for food, a changing, or comfort.
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but my first instinct was of annoyance. Not at the sound of the baby crying, but at the careless attitude of its mother. I was upset that she was continuing to allow the child to cry, without so much as trying to comfort or attend to its needs. I could feel some anger brewing towards her, so I began to turn my cart in the other direction. That’s when I saw him.
A white haired gentleman, probably in his 70’s, peeked down the aisle to see where all the commotion was coming from. He slowly approached the cart and began to whisper softly to the baby. Then he gently reached down to stroke the child’s cheek. Instantly, the cries stopped and the baby was consoled. The mother turned around to see why her baby had quieted down, noticed the elderly man, and then turned back to her shopping. I felt a sudden ease come over myself as I watched the man nurture the baby. Somehow, he had managed to calm me too.
I spent the rest of the day pondering this scenario. I was ashamed that my first thoughts towards this woman were so negative. I was so quick to become opinionated and judgmental–and angry. The elderly man, he saw the situation through different eyes–he saw it through the lens of love.
I soon realized why I had become so fixated on this part of my day. It was because I had seen Jesus in a stranger. His actions were totally selfless. He acted in mercy and gentleness. He offered a moment of grace that produced a settling in both the child and myself. He reached out to someone else without hesitation, and it was all from a heart of love.
Bob Goff says in his new book, Everybody Always, that “Jesus told His friends that letting people see the way we love each other would be the best way to let people know about Him….It would be because someone met you or me and felt as if they had just met Jesus.” Wow. I don’t know about you, but I want more of that in my life. I want more love. More kindness. More grace. More Jesus. I want someone to see Jesus in me at Walmart, like I did with this stranger. I want my love for God to be so consuming that I can’t help but see everyone around me through the eyes of Christ. I need that in my life. I’m striving for that right now. I want to offer this world more and more love. How about you?